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Zinc plated va stainless steel, anchors chains and quick links
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Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Half dome Cables
Question for route developers and people with knowledge. Are hangers and bolts mostly zinc plated? And if they are how important is it for attaching non-zinc plated (stainless steel) quick links to them and using SS vs zinc plated chains. This is in regards to galvanic corrosion Jan Tarculas
From Riverside, Ca
Joined Mar 6, 2010
957 points
Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks
Jan Tarculas wrote:
Question for route developers and people with knowledge. Are hangers and bolts mostly zinc plated? And if they are how important is it for attaching non-zinc plated (stainless steel) quick links to them and using SS vs zinc plated chains. This is in regards to galvanic corrosion


Hangers are almost always stainless steel, bolts used to be mostly plated but for the past 10 or so years have moved to being mostly stainless as well. A stainless quick link on a plated hanger or a plated quick link on a stainless hanger is not a problem at all in 99% of environments including southern California where it appears you are from.
kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Joined Aug 12, 2010
2,061 points
Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Hangers and bolts are a mixed bag of whoever buys whatever. I'd like to think most folks are using all stainless...or they should at least consider it. I wish plated hardware would go the way of the dodo...

Rock Climbing Photo: Fixed link on bolt at Stone Mountain, NC.
Fixed link on bolt at Stone Mountain, NC.
Brian in SLC
Joined Oct 6, 2003
13,072 points
Nov 24, 2015
OP - spend some time on the Fixe website and you will learn all you need to know about metals. It's still very easy to buy plated steel bolts AND hangers, but there's no reason to use them anywhere any more, except that the route developer is a cheapskate who cares little for the long term safety of his route. Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
2,678 points
Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Half dome Cables
I guess my question is, is it ok adding stainless steel fixe draws to zinc plated chains/quick link to a SS ring attached to the anchors Jan Tarculas
From Riverside, Ca
Joined Mar 6, 2010
957 points
Nov 24, 2015
It's worth noting that the "galvanic corrosion" caused by mixing metals effects one metal at the expense of the other. That's in fact how zinc plating works - the zinc is slowly sacrificed to protect the steel underneath. Eventually the plating is consumed and you have the raw steel, which then corrodes. In the case of mixing plated and stainless components in an anchor, it's the plated ones that will suffer. The most important component to protect is the bolt shaft itself, which is exposed to the most corrosive environment - the inside of the bolt hole. If the bolt and hanger are stainless, then as kennoyce says, it's probably fine in most dry-ish climbing areas. Any metallurgists out there know the actual galvanic potential between 304 stainless and zinc and/or grade 5 carbon steel? J Achey
Joined Aug 28, 2009
156 points
Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Expatriot
We gave up on the zinc plated a long time ago. We put in stainless exclusively. We didn't want to be responsible for someone getting hurt, especially considering the weather in the Adirondaks. When you think about the effort you put into a new line, what's a few dollars anyway? frank minunni
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined May 26, 2011
129 points
Nov 24, 2015
I think the reason why many people are concerned about rusting and galvanic corrosion is that not all plated hardware is created equally. There is some really good plated hardware such as the grade 5 and grade 8 carbon steel bolts that Powers uses in it's "5-piece" bolts. Then there is the really crap stuff you see with many wedge bolts and quick links.

I strongly recommend using stainless whenever possible. However, I don't think you can use a blanket statement as to how long plated hardware will last since the quality varies greatly.
Bruce Hildenbrand
Joined Apr 18, 2003
1,166 points
Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Half dome Cables
thanks for the info...

p.s. I've been told 3/8 is the way to go for chains/quick links. My next question is what is an acceptable working load for a quick link that is use to attach chains to an anchor? I've seen at home have 2,200 lbs and other same size quick links at 3,600 lbs. Local developer mentioned he uses towing rated quick links at 5,000 lbs
Jan Tarculas
From Riverside, Ca
Joined Mar 6, 2010
957 points
Administrator
Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Mastigouche
frank minunni wrote:
We gave up on the zinc plated a long time ago. We put in stainless exclusively. We didn't want to be responsible for someone getting hurt, especially considering the weather in the Adirondaks. When you think about the effort you put into a new line, what's a few dollars anyway?


Anyone feel like changing the bolts on Eat Yourself a Pie ?
Luc
From Montreal, Quebec
Joined Nov 27, 2006
8,841 points
Nov 24, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Expatriot
Sorry. I don't live there anymore. frank minunni
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined May 26, 2011
129 points
Nov 24, 2015
A factoid re. quicklinks - the "safe working load" typically is 1/5th of the ultimate strength, so even the Homely Depot links are plenty strong enough. I know some climbers steer clear of them b/c they don't come from a reputable climbing company or carry a UIAA seal, but they're good enough for me. Use 'em in pairs if you want and put your fears aside. Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
2,678 points
Nov 24, 2015
I was pretty disappointed to listen to the Enormocast on "the Choss Wranglers" - knucklehead developers down in the Roaring Fork Valley. "Can't justify say a...200-250 percent increase in price to develop a crag just because someone wants stainless - it's just not economical". I've lost my confidence in going to places like these where these guys are bolting/retro bolting - Rifle included. jaredsmokescigars
Joined Jun 6, 2014
68 points
Administrator
Nov 25, 2015
Jan Tarculas wrote:
thanks for the info... p.s. I've been told 3/8 is the way to go for chains/quick links. My next question is what is an acceptable working load for a quick link that is use to attach chains to an anchor? I've seen at home have 2,200 lbs and other same size quick links at 3,600 lbs. Local developer mentioned he uses towing rated quick links at 5,000 lbs

Depends on what the SWL factor is. The industry standard is 5:1 for non-life-critical applications, although some companies use 4:1. If the SWL factor is 5:1, then 2,000 lbs equates to a BS of 11,000 lbf, which is more than fine. Even if the SWL factor was only 4:1, it would still be stronger than any 3/8" bolt at 2,200 lbf SWL. Pretty much any reputable 3/8" SS quicklink is going to be stronger than most 1/2" bolts.
20 kN
From Hawaii
Joined Feb 2, 2009
1,214 points
Nov 27, 2015
climbing.com/climber/built-to-... topical, worth reading Noah Yetter
From Lakewood, CO
Joined Jul 13, 2015
121 points
Nov 27, 2015
Noah Yetter wrote:
climbing.com/climber/built-to-... topical, worth reading


Yep. On important point from it...

"Class 3 anchors will have “moderate” corrosion resistance. There will be no tests for SCC. Anchors in this class should be suitable for the bulk of climbing areas that have no special corrosion concerns, and it will be the minimum level of corrosion resistance recommended for outdoor climbing. Since this standard is being generated in Europe, it seems very likely that anchors in this category will have to show corrosion resistance equal to 304, and possibly 316 stainless. If so, this requirement is sure to cause some controversy in the U.S. "

They have come out with 316 stainless for class 3 anchors -- saying that 304 stainless are not appropriate for outdoor anchors at all. (And, of course, carbon-steel, zinc-plated/galvanized, etc are, also, not appropriate.)
David Gibbs
From Ottawa, ON
Joined Aug 18, 2010
10 points
Dec 1, 2015
We need to wrap our heads around a higher standard for hardware. It's coming. The fact is, very soon, you will be considered a rogue bolter if you are using plated hardware, even in the desert. Certainly, already, any European equipper would look sideways at your work. I've certainly placed my share of plated stuff, and made even worse hardware decisions before our state of knowledge got to where it is now, and I understand the under-funded developer mentality as well as anyone alive. But if you pry off a block in Indian Creek or an arid limestone crag in Nevada, you'll find damp dirt behind it. The inside of a bolt hole is the same. A long-lasting anchor in rock outdoors simply needs to be stainless. The more remote your crag, the more important it is to get it right the first time, because no climbing coalition is going to be following along behind you re-equipping your route, ever. 30 years is not that long.

The main problem for US developers right now is that 1/2-inch stainless-steel sleeve bolts, of any brand, are extremely expensive, while 1/2-inch plated sleeves are/were quite cheap. But the price gap has narrowed, now that the tried-and-true plated Powerbolt is discontinued, replaced by the more expensive Powerbolt Plus. If a 1/2-inch stainless sleeve bolt became available that was just a little cheaper, we could make a fairly painless transition to all-stainless.

Currently, you have viable options. Good quality 3/8-inch stainless wedge bolts work very well in a lot of rock types (including most limestone), and are very affordable - about $5 per bolt/hanger placement. If you're financially challenged (like most of us) and have reasonably hard rock, that should be your low-end bolt of choice. Make sure you know how to place wedge bolts correctly - don't over-torque and do use Loc-tite on the nuts - and consider a different bolt for first-bolt placements (which tend to loosen), inverted placements, or bolts you expect to get particularly rough treatment. 1/2-inch stainless wedge bolts are super burly, work in even softer rock, and are surprisingly affordable. A lot of the re-equipping done in the New River Gorge uses these. You'll need hangers with 1/2-inch (or 12mm) holes.

RE types of stainless, it's my understanding that in Europe, standard construction codes specify 316 when stainless is called for. Unlike here, 304 is rarely used. Hence, 316 isn't much more expensive than 304 in Europe - the small amount of molybdenum in the alloy doesn't really make the raw stock much pricier. It's more of a demand problem in the US that makes 316 so much more expensive than 304. That's an important issue. 316 is much more resistant to the pitting corrosion that is the likely "weak-link" mechanism for degradation of a stainless-steel rock-climbing bolt. But even 304, to the best of my limited knowledge, really should put us on a good path where new bolts in non-coastal climbing areas will be good (at least corrosion-wise) for 100 years.

Anyway, there are smart and dedicated people working on this problem. If everyone stopped using plated bolts and hangers and demand for stainless equipping hardware went up, that would help bring costs down and new products to market.
J Achey
Joined Aug 28, 2009
156 points
Administrator
Dec 1, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the lip on Angle of the Dangle. Photo by S...
J Achey wrote:
We need to wrap our heads around a higher standard for hardware. It's coming. The fact is, very soon, you will be considered a rogue bolter if you are using plated hardware, even in the desert. Certainly, already, any European equipper would look sideways at your work. I've certainly placed my share of plated stuff, and made even worse hardware decisions before our state of knowledge got to where it is now, and I understand the under-funded developer mentality as well as anyone alive.

Agreed. We've pushed the topic so much here in the Portland area that now the climbers/developers are beginning to understand (and even expect now) that SS is the only reasonable choice, and almost all the developers have quit using plated as of this year. We've been pushing the education and reasons, and its starting to take effect. Now to get through to the Smith Rock developers...
SS wedges work well in hard rock, as you're saying. But I think SS glue in bolts are the way to go, with either the Jim Titt bolt, or the ClimbTech Wave bolt being the prefered bolt. No need to countersink, they hold themselves in to the tune of 6-8kn without glue, and are pretty easy to install, and will last much longer than any SS sleeve or wedge bolt. And the cost is pretty cheap, with both bolts coming in at less than $6 a bolt, without bulk pricing.
Micah Klesick
From Vancouver, WA
Joined Aug 18, 2013
4,237 points
Dec 1, 2015
Even 316 SS can corrode inside the bolt hole in a surprisingly short period depending on the environment. Titanium glue-ins titanclimbing.com/Titan%20Clim... are around $13 each, but should last more than twice as long (50 years, allegedly). Still a tough cost to swallow without outside financial support. Noah Yetter
From Lakewood, CO
Joined Jul 13, 2015
121 points
Administrator
Dec 1, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the lip on Angle of the Dangle. Photo by S...
Noah Yetter wrote:
Even 316 SS can corrode inside the bolt hole in a surprisingly short period depending on the environment. Titanium glue-ins titanclimbing.com/Titan%20Clim... are around $13 each, but should last more than twice as long (50 years, allegedly). Still a tough cost to swallow without outside financial support.

It's far more than 50 years for SS in most environments. I've pulled 15 year old SS bolts out, and there has been NO sign of rust or corrosion whatsoever on them. I believe its reasonable to assume that SS bolts can last over 100 years in most places. Ti bolts certainly will last even longer.
Micah Klesick
From Vancouver, WA
Joined Aug 18, 2013
4,237 points
Administrator
Dec 1, 2015
Micah Klesick wrote:
I believe its reasonable to assume that SS bolts can last over 100 years in most places.

I dont think that they will. Some will, but the problem is that some will not. Corrosion is an extremely localized mechanism. I have pulled bolts off routes and tested them to find the first bolt failed at 2kN, the 2nd failed at 35kN, the 3rd at 39kN and the 4th at 4kN. They were all the same bolt, same hanger, installed at the same time by the same person. So while most stainless bolts may last 100 years, random bolts here and there will not. Then the problem becomes that if you cannot trust a random bolt here and there, and you dont know which bolts can be trusted and which cannot because the corrosion is occurring in the hole, then you need to replace them all. The entire area is limited by the lifespan of the weakest bolt, sorta speak, unless you can be confident no corrosion is occurring in the hole, which you could never be if the bolt was 100 years old.
20 kN
From Hawaii
Joined Feb 2, 2009
1,214 points
Dec 1, 2015
20 kN wrote:
I dont think that they will. Some will, but the problem is that some will not. Corrosion is an extremely localized mechanism. I have pulled bolts off routes and tested them to find the first bolt failed at 2kN, the 2nd failed at 35kN, the 3rd at 39kN and the 4th at 4kN. They were all the same bolt, same hanger, installed at the same time by the same person. So while most stainless bolts may last 100 years, random bolts here and there will not. Then the problem becomes that if you cannot trust a random bolt here and there, and you dont know which bolts can be trusted and which cannot because the corrosion is occurring in the hole, then you need to replace them all. The entire area is limited by the lifespan of the weakest bolt, sorta speak, unless you can be confident no corrosion is occurring in the hole, which you could never be if the bolt was 100 years old.


I would be interested in knowing what areas these SS bolts came from and what make and model the bolts were. Rather than spread fear please provide us with relevant information so that we can all decide whether this is a common problem for all climbing areas.
Bruce Hildenbrand
Joined Apr 18, 2003
1,166 points
Dec 1, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: blah
I try to use stainless. its expensive. Its hard to get folks to use anything more expensive than a redhead. on the other side... red heads are strong enough seem to last at least 10-25yrs in zion Rob Warden, Space Lizard
From Springdale Ut
Joined Dec 19, 2011
132 points
Administrator
Dec 2, 2015
Bruce Hildenbrand wrote:
I would be interested in knowing what areas these SS bolts came from and what make and model the bolts were. Rather than spread fear please provide us with relevant information so that we can all decide whether this is a common problem for all climbing areas.

This was in a marine environment where the bolts were suffering from SCC, so it's different than your standard desert environment for sure. However, I have seen similar cases in non-marine environments. A common issue related to corrosion that can cause a massive difference in pull-out strengths occurs with wedge bolts. It's quite common that the cone can fuse to the shaft of the bolt, in which case the bolt essentially just becomes a static friction-held anchor with no active caming component. In cases like that, it's not uncommon for one bolt to pull nearly by hand while other bolts on the same route may be extremely difficult to remove and may even require breaking the bolt and drilling the core out. While this is typically an issue more common with plated steel, I can think of at least one case where this has occurred with stainless steel.

I am not spreading fear, I am simply annotating the well-known fact that corrosion resistance can vary greatly depending on a million factors and while a particular stainless bolt might last xxx years in one area, the same bolt might not last 1/2 as long in a nearby area. It's always a possibility, and more so in areas where corrosion is more prominent (e.g. limestone, wet areas, marine, ect.).
20 kN
From Hawaii
Joined Feb 2, 2009
1,214 points
Administrator
Dec 2, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Enter the Colossus
Zinc plated quicklinks on SS hangers is okay from my understanding... Morgan Patterson
Joined Oct 13, 2009
8,902 points
Dec 2, 2015
@Quicklinks in a "non-marine" environment - 3/8" SS or 1/2" plated? S. Neoh
Joined Oct 4, 2009
563 points


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